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Report: Federal safety board ignored ignition switch warning

Detroit Free Press -- WASHINGTON: A House committee this morning released a report highly critical of federal regulators for their role in not catching an ignition switch defect in General Motors' cars that killed at least 19 people, saying they had all the information and authority they needed to react more swiftly.

Noting that GM deserved much of the blame for not addressing the defect earlier, the staff report by the House Energy and Commerce Committee took the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to task for ignoring information – in some cases in reports it commissioned itself – that potentially identified the deadly defect.

"The agency's repeated failure to identify, let alone explore, the potential defect theory related to the ignition switch — even after it was spelled out in a report.  (go to article)

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Mazda6 Diesel Delayed To Add Aftertreatment

Gas 2 -- It’s now approaching six months since the Mazda6 diesel was supposed to debut in America, with the problems being blamed on a lack of zoom-zoom and low oil levels. The Truth About Cars is now reporting that the delay may come down to a need for a diesel after-treatment to meet emissions regulations, which could delay the Mazda6 diesel another year.

An anonymous source told TTAC that the treatment-free SkyActiv-D engine couldn’t meet American emissions standards while providing enough power for consumer expectations, forcing Mazda engineers to go back to the drawing board. European automakers like Mercedes have had similar problems, which led to the addition of after-treatment solutions applied to engine emissions to reduce NOx and soot particulates.  (go to article)

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Diesel price continues downward spiral, still at lowest point since mid-2012

Overdrive -- The national average price for a gallon of on-highway diesel fell again in the week ended Sept. 15, according to the Department of Energy, who reported it as down another 1.3 cents to $3.801.

The U.S.’ average price has now fallen every week since the week ended June 30, save for the week ended Sept. 8, which saw no change.

The average price is also still at its lowest point in more than two years (July 30, 2012) and is 17.3 cents lower than the same week last year.

ProMiles’ Fuel Surcharge Index reported in its weekly data a 1.5-cent drop, bringing its average to $3.73 — down 19 cents from the same week last year.

Per the Dept. of Energy, all regions saw a price drop from the week prior. The Central Atlantic region led all price decreases with a 2.3-cent drop, followed by New  (go to article)

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Oil rises as OPEC keeps output target steady

Reuters -- (Reuters) - Oil futures rose on Thursday after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to keep its collective oil output ceiling unchanged for the second half of the year at 30 million barrels per day.

The move implies a supply cut of 1.6 million bpd, OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah al-Badri said. Several OPEC members had called on Saudi Arabia, the group's top producer, to trim its excess supply to the agreed limit as a way to defend crude at $100 a barrel.

In post-settlement trading, oil rose further as the euro extended gains against the dollar after G20 officials said central banks are prepared for coordinated action to provide liquidity if needed after the Greek election on Sunday.

 (go to article)

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Fastest woman on a motorcycle hits 241 mph with electricity instead of gas

Yahoo! Autos -- When the first self-powered vehicles appeared on roads in the late 19th century, they were as likely to use electricity for power as they were gas, steam or any other fuel. The lack of progress in batteries, and the steady march of fossil-fuel burning engines, knocked them off of the streets for about 100 years. But if you need more proof that the era of electrics may rise again, look to how the fastest woman on a motorcycle shattered records at Bonneville with a battery-powered bike.

Eva Håkansson and her husband Bill Dubé, both engineers, have been building their KillaJoule streamlined sidecar machine for five years in their Colorado backyard, powered by a brace of A123 Systems' lithium-ion batteries and electric motors generating some 400 hp and 800 ft.-lbs. of torque.  (go to article)

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Emails: EPA Rules Part Of The Progressive Agenda

Daily Caller -- Emails between top Environmental Protection Agency officials reveal they saw their fight against global warming as putting them at “forefront of progressive national policy.”

“You are at the forefront of progressive national policy on one of the critical issues of our time. Do you realize that?” former EPA chief Lisa Jackson asked former EPA policy office head Lisa Heinzerling in a Feb. 27, 2009 email.

“You’re a good boss. I do realize that.” Heinzerling replied that same day to Jackson, who was using an alias email account under the fake name “Richard Windsor.”

These emails show what top EPA officials were thinking as the agency prepared to release its greenhouse gas endangerment finding. which would give the agency the power to regulate carbon dioxide emissions.  (go to article)

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States lower energy taxes to attract business as production thrives

Haynesville.com -- A new report has found that state tax rates on fossil fuel extraction have stayed consistent or even fallen since the hydraulic fracturing boom began, despite rising profits for the energy sector.
U.S. News and World Report says the report’s authors, Barry Rabe and Rachel Hampton of the University of Michigan’s Center for Local, State and Urban Policy (CLOSUP), attribute the low tax rates to states’ desires to remain competitive with their neighbors. Though a severance tax would earn more money for the state per volume of extracted fuel, it could also drive energy companies to nearby, more lightly taxed states, lowering the overall economic return.
 (go to article)

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Oil industry accuses administration of political motive in ethanol rules

Houston Chronical -- The American Petroleum Institute said Thursday it fears the Environmental Protection Agency will boost ethanol requirements to help a Democrat locked in a close U.S. Senate race in Iowa — a corn-growing state that benefits from the mandate because most U.S. ethanol is made from corn.  (go to article)

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News Survey: Idaho Outranks New York For Nation’s Rudest Drivers

CBS Channel 42 - New York -- Some say New York has some pretty bad drivers, and a new survey agreed.

But the Empire State was not number one this time. The state with the dubious distinction of having the rudest drivers in the country is the Gem State – also sometimes known as the Potato State.

The entire population of the state of Idaho is only about one twelfth that of New York state, a fifth that of New York City, and even smaller than the borough of Manhattan or Brooklyn alone. But an Insure.com survey said density and the resultant congestion and traffic are not always the deciding factor in creating rude drivers.

“The roadways of Idaho present a dichotomy of drivers: Those who are moving so slowly that they’re judged to be rude, and the aggressive drivers who speed around them and flip them off,”  (go to article)

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Islamic State Funds Push Into Syria and Iraq With Labyrinthine Oil-Smuggling Operation

Wall St Journal -- The Islamic State is funding its rapid push into Syria and Iraq with a labyrinthine oil-smuggling operation that starts at seized Syrian oil fields, goes through makeshift refineries and can end up in jerrycans carried by mules into the hilly borderland of Turkey.

Amid Western pressure to squeeze the group's finances, Turkey is expanding efforts to crack down on the increasingly organized business, which is now generating an estimated $2 million a day.

A major route linking Syrian oil fields with the smuggling enclaves of southern Turkey offers a window onto the complexity of the oil network run by Islamic State, the militant group that controls large swaths of Syria and Iraq. It also demonstrates the challenges of shutting it down.

"It clearly won't be possible to choke off completely,  (go to article)

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Gasoline Price Update: Down A Nickel

Investing.com -- It's time again for my weekly gasoline update based on data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Rounded to the penny, Regular and Premium both fell five cents and are now at their lowest averages since mid-February. Regular is up 21 cents and Premium 20 cents from their interim lows during the second week of last November.

According to GasBuddy.com, only one state (Hawaii) has Regular above $4.00 per gallon, unchanged from last week, and one state (Alaska) is averaging above $3.90, also unchanged from last week. South Carolina has the cheapest Regular at $3.11.

How far are we from the interim high prices of 2011 and the all-time highs of 2008? Here's a visual answer.

The next chart is a weekly chart overlay of West Texas Intermediate Crude, Brent Crude and unleaded gasolin  (go to article)

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Big solar plant in Mojave Desert gets state's OK

San Francisco Chronicle -- Despite environmental concerns, the California Energy Commission has given a preliminary green light to an Oakland company's second big solar project in the California desert.

The proposed BrightSource Energy facility would be the latest in a series of solar plants that the Obama administration is subsidizing in the Mojave Desert.

The plant would use the same technology as BrightSource's 5.4-square-mile Ivanpah plant near the Nevada border that opened in the spring with a $1.6 billion federal loan.

The proposed plant is located between Indio and Blythe in Riverside County, near a migratory bird path from the Salton Sea to the Colorado River.

The Ivanpah plant is the largest of its kind in the world, using concentrated light beams reflected from thousands of mirrors onto 40-story "power  (go to article)

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Consumer Reports names Ram EcoDiesel 1500 'Top Full-Size Pickup'

GasBuddy Blog --
Image From ..wardsauto.comThe Ram 1500 EcoDiesel climbed to the top of Consumer Reports’ full-size pickup truck ratings with an impressive performance in the organization’s fuel economy tests.
The EcoDiesel (82 point overall road test score) turned in a best-in-class fuel economy of 20 mpg overall and 27 mpg on the highway, to help it score better than the previously tested Ram 1500 V8 (81) regular gas version and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT (80). “These are about the same fuel-economy numbers that we typically see in a mid-sized SUV. The Ram is currently the only truck to offer turbo-diesel technology. It will be interesting to see what impact it will have on the half-ton truck market,” said Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports. ...  (go to article)

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Coast Guard, Enbridge, and EPA to conduct simulated oil spill exercise in Michigan

Fox 17 -- INDIAN RIVER, Mich. — More than 200 participants from the U.S. Coast Guard 9th District, Enbridge, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the Environmental Protection Agency, and others, will take part in an exercise on Wednesday that simulates a ‘worst-case scenario’ oil spill.

According to a press release from the Coast Guard, the exercise will focus on how to respond to a breach in Enbridge’s Line 5, and a discharge of light crude oil.  (go to article)

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Leaky equipment, not fracking, behind tainted U.S. water : study

REUTERS -- The contamination of water supplies near U.S. shale gas fields appears to be the result of leaky cement wells and casings and not the controversial production technique of hydraulic fracturing, according to a study released on Monday.

So-called "fracking" is a way of extracting natural gas from deep layers of rock using high-pressure fluid injections. The method has triggered a surge in U.S. gas production, but raised fears that breaking up rock formations underground could allow gas to seep into drinking water.

Scientists from several universities, including Duke, Ohio State, Stanford and Dartmouth, analyzed more than 130 drinking-water well samples overlying the Marcellus and Barnett shale gas formations and attempted to trace the source of any contamination, according to the study.  (go to article)

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Crude bounces back on dollar’s decline

Bloomburg -- WTI for October delivery climbed 65 cents, or 0.7 percent, to end at $92.92 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after falling as much as 1.8 percent in intraday trading. Volume was 2 percent higher than the 100-day average.

Brent for October settlement, which expired Monday, fell 46 cents, or 0.5 percent, to close at $96.65 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. It earlier touched $96.21 a barrel, the lowest since July 2, 2012. The more active November contract ended at $97.88. The volume of all futures traded was 20 percent below the 100-day average.

Brent’s premium to WTI narrowed to $3.73 based on October futures, the smallest since April 11. The spread was $5.89 based on November futures.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed at 1,050.49 afte  (go to article)

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Alberta woman loses fracking case appeal, wants to take case to Supreme Court

Canadian Press -- Jessica Ernst launched a $33M lawsuit against the AB government, the province's energy regulator and energy company Encana

She claims gas wells fracked around her land NE of Calgary unleashed hazardous amounts of methane and ethane gas and other chemicals into her water well

Last fall an AB Court of Queen's Bench judge ruled that Ernst can't sue the energy regulator because it is immune from private legal claims

The AB Court of Appeal has upheld that ruling

"Protecting administrative tribunals and their members from liability for damages is constitutionally legitimate,- the panel of appeal court judges said in the ruling

Ernst said she plans to seek leave to appeal Monday's ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada

In its statement of defence, Encana has denied all of Ernst's allegation  (go to article)

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Fears grow about oil tanker shortage

Washington Examiner -- Companies that make tanker cars for shipping oil across the country fear they are being railroaded by the Department of Transportation.

It's given them until October 2017 to make 23,000 older tankers safer or else face being banned from using them to ship flammable crude from wells to refineries. Thousands of newer cars would also have to be upgraded.

The companies say there isn't time and they stand to lose a lot of business.

"Based on what we're hearing in these shops on retrofits, I don't know how they can get this done in three years. It's a tall, tall task," an energy industry source told the Washington Examiner.

The volume of oil being carried around the country has risen sharply as shale production turned from trickle to spate. In 2009, there were 10,800 carloads carrying ...  (go to article)

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UPDATE 1-U.S. Henry Hub natgas pipeline blast affects 'minimal' production

REUTERS(Rewrites throughout to add details from Chevron) -- Chevron Corp said Monday a blast on a natural gas gathering pipeline into the Henry Hub supply hub in Louisiana on Saturday that killed one worker interrupted "minimal gas production."

The company said in an email statement that it has rerouted most of the affected production from the blast to an alternative gas system. Chevron said workers were performing routine maintenance on a Chevron Midstream Pipeline gas gathering line in offshore Louisiana waters when the accident occurred. Chevron said a suspected platform valve blowout may have been the cause.

Chevron said the unit that operates the line is continuing to depressurize the line offshore to allow a safe repair onshore.

The pipeline platform continues to be shut in. The platform is part of the Henry Hub gas gathering system,...  (go to article)

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General Motors’ Fuel Pump Recall Reveals Patchwork Approach to Auto Safety

NY Times -- n July 2013, an angry and worried Connecticut owner of a 2007 Chevrolet Equinox wrote federal regulators to complain about a gasoline leak that a dealer refused to repair under a recall. The reason, General Motors argued, was that Connecticut did not get hot enough.

The Equinox owner differed.

“Several heat waves in Connecticut causing crack in fuel pump module,” the owner wrote the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Not on recall list per G.M. However, should be for any safety issue such as this. Afraid to drive. Huge cost to fix.” Without any objection from federal safety regulators, G.M. had recalled only about 41,000 vehicles sold or registered in some states that have hot weather. That included the Equinox in Arizona, California, Nevada and Texas, where, ...  (go to article)

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GM Reveal Official Fuel Economy Figures of the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado, Price Announced

AirHerald -- The 2015 Chevrolet Colorado is often referred to as the best pickup truck in the American market. It outclassed most of its competitors to achieve numerous awards at recent auto shows. Originally unveiled back at the 2013 Los Angeles Motor Show, people fell for the 2015 Colorado as soon as they saw it.

One of the base reasons leading to the Colorado’s popularity in class is that this vehicle does not have a lot of competition. The two pickups in the range include the Nissan Frontier and the Toyota Tacoma, and the Colorado is better than both in terms of ergonomics and practicality.

The 2015 Chevrolet Colorado is created out of hydro-formed steel, which lends strength and elasticity to the chassis. Even though the upcoming variant is gasoline powered, diesel engine blocks are expected...  (go to article)

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Farmers Are Adding Solar Panels To Their Crop & Grazing Land

Sustainnovate -- I'm not sure who introduced the terms "wind farms" and "solar farms," but they are great terms and they go beyond analogy. Increasingly, farmers are adding solar panels and wind turbines to their farms in order to achieve greater financial benefit and sometimes even to save their farms from financial collapse.

It's no secret: it can be difficult to stay afloat financially as a farmer. These days, one of the best ways to do so is to make greater use of one's land by using the land for complementary purposes. In particular, adding solar panels or wind turbines can offer a huge financial boost without hurting farm revenues.
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Merits of oil exports are clear

Haynesville.com -- A new report from Brookings’ Energy Security Initiative adds more scholarly weight to the analytical case for lifting America’s decades-old ban on crude oil exports. Echoing earlier studies by IHS and ICF International, the Brookings research finds that allowing the export of domestic crude would stimulate more oil production here at home, provide broad economic benefits and strengthen U.S. energy security. Brookings:  (go to article)

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Why US needs to repeal oil export ban: Hess CEO

CNBC -- The Russia-Ukraine crisis and the turmoil in the Mideast highlight the need to repeal immediately the American ban on crude oil exports, the CEO of Hess told CNBC on Monday. It would "go a long way" to reducing energy prices and increasing jobs in the U.S., he added.
"The ban was put in place in the 1970s at the time of the Arab embargo and a shortage," John Hess said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "Right now, we're in a supply strength with a lot of visibility to come
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Natural gas production contaminated drinking water in Texas, study finds

LA Times -- Natural gas production contaminated the well water of two homes in a Texas subdivision, according to a study published Monday.

The discovery came two years after the Environmental Protection Agency halted its investigation in the Parker County community over concern about costs and legal risks.

In the new study, scientists were trying to determine the origins of high methane levels in drinking water aquifers near gas wells in Pennsylvania and Texas. They found that water in the two homes had changed over nine months, going from containing trace amounts of methane to containing high levels.

The newly identified cases “caught this contamination in the act,” said Robert Jackson, a study coauthor and professor of environmental science at Stanford University.
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Scientists: Bad fracking wells taint water

MSN News -- WASHINGTON — Faulty fracking wells are to blame for drinking water contamination in Texas and Pennsylvania, according to new findings from researchers at five universities. “People’s water has been harmed by drilling,” said Robert Jackson, a professor of environmental and earth sciences at Stanford University. “In Texas, we even saw two homes go from clean to contaminated after our sampling began.”

Construction problems with natural gas wells are responsible for the tainted water, the researchers found. That includes poor casing and failed cement jobs meant to seal the steel drilling pipe from surrounding earth and rocks and prevent water contamination.
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Winter-Blend Gasoline Likely to Lower Gas Prices

NBC Connecticut -- Connecticut gas prices are down nearly 10 cents from last month due to a switchover to a less expensive blend of fuel.

This gas is cheaper because it does not need to meet emissions requirements that usually exist to prevent pollution in warm temperatures, according to a report from AAA.

At $3.70 per gallon, statewide prices have dropped 19 cents since last year, and are predicted to fall even more for the second half of September, AAA said.

Connecticut, which has the seventh most expensive average gas price in the U.S., made the switch on Sept. 15, along with most other states.

Hurricanes or other events that might disrupt gas production, however, could still cause temporary price spikes in the coming months, according to AAA.
Drivers are reminded to check their car battery, tires, li  (go to article)

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Poll: 79 percent supports tolling to pay for highways

the Hill -- Seventy-nine percent of U.S. residents would support increasing the use of tolls on the nation's roads to help for new transportation projects, according to a poll Thursday by an infrastructure group.

The survey, which was conducted by HNTB Corp., found 79 percent of U.S. residents "would support the addition of a toll on a non-tolled surface transportation facility if it resulted in a safer, congestion-free and more reliable trip."

The poll found 83 percent of its respondents would also support tolls on highways that are currently free, which has been a source of contentious debate in Washington.
"Inflation, improved fuel economy, changing driving habits and rising construction costs have eaten away at the purchasing power of federal and state gas taxes,” he said. “The national surve  (go to article)

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Study: Leaky wells, not fracking, taint water

The Houston Chronicle -- WASHINGTON (AP) — The drilling procedure called fracking didn't cause much-publicized cases of tainted groundwater in areas of Pennsylvania and Texas, a new study finds. Instead, it blames the contamination on problems in pipes and seals in natural gas wells. After looking at dozens of cases of suspected contamination, the scientists focused on eight hydraulically fractured wells in those states, where they chemically linked the tainted water to the gas wells. They then used chemical analysis to figure out when in the process of gas extraction methane leaked into groundwater. "We found the evidence suggested that fracking was not to blame, that it was actually a well integrity issue," said Ohio State University geochemist Thomas Darrah, lead author of the study. He said those results are g  (go to article)

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Environmental Scientists Make The Environmental Case For Fracking

Science 2.0 -- A strange thing happened during climate change policy debates: Advances in hydraulic fracturing - fracking - put trillions of dollars' worth of previously unreachable oil and natural gas within humanity's grasp, and using it led to reductions in CO2 in the United States. America disavowed nuclear energy due to anti-science beliefs and lobbying by environmental groups and adopted dirty coal in its place. Ironically, environmental groups caused global warming by getting Democrats to ban nuclear energy and America led the world in emissions through most of the 1990s. In the last decade, though, fracking cleaner natural gas caused those emissions to plummet and now emissions from the US energy sector are back at early 1990s levels while emissions from coal are at early 1980s levels. That has b  (go to article)

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Tesla Motors spawns an automotive ecosystem

San Jose Mercury News -- Tesla Motors spawns an automotive ecosystem

FREMONT -- Tesla's decision to build its massive "gigafactory" for battery production in Reno is viewed as a big win for Nevada. But as Tesla races to make an affordable electric car for the masses, the company's California footprint will continue to grow.

The electric automaker is on track to deliver more than 35,000 cars this year and has ambitions to produce 500,000 cars a year by 2020 -- all at its factory in Fremont. The accompanying infusion of jobs and investment is reshaping that once-quiet suburban city and spilling over into the surrounding region.Tesla already has 6,000 employees in the Bay Area: hundreds at its corporate headquarters in Palo Alto, but the vast majority at the Fremont factory. Tesla also employs 100 workers at a n  (go to article)

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Consumer Reports finds Chinese tire brands are no bargain

Consumer Reports via Yahoo -- With prices starting at just $89, less than half the cost of better-known models, tires from China may seem like an irresistible deal. That’s why, for the first time, Consumer Reports included a few Chinese brands in our latest tests: Geostar, Pegasus, and Sunny.

Tires are a global commodity, and many of the major brand names that CR tests are manufactured in China. But those tires are designed and manufactured to quality standards dictated by the original manufacturers. Chinese tire brands don’t have that oversight, nor the marketing foresight to design products well-suited to the specific requirements of the U.S. consumer. While we can’t address specific tire build quality, our all-weather tests show that these tires simply don’t measure-up to most of the well-known brands.  (go to article)

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Oil prices falling, but maybe not for long: Jefferies

Yahoo Finance -- Oil prices have fallen 15% over the past year, and they could slide further before stabilizing. That's good news for U.S. consumers who are paying an average of $3.41 for a gallon of regular gasoline -- the lowest price in six months, according to AAA.

"There's some downside still on prices, but I think we're near the bottom here," says Andrew Lebow, a senior VP for energy derivatives at Jefferies Bache. "Maybe another dollar or two on WTI and maybe another dollar or two on Brent.... We’re near the lows."

Sweet West Texas Intermediate crude is now trading just below $92 a barrel, down from $108 a year ago. Brent crude from the North Sea is trading at $97 a barrel -- near a two-year low, and at the narrowest spread to WTI since July.

Behind the drop in oil prices is a decline in demand  (go to article)

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Brent hits 26-month low on weak Chinese data, U.S. crude rises

Reuters -- Brent crude oil futures fell in choppy trading on Monday on weak Chinese economic data that pushed the expiring October Brent contract to a two-year low, while U.S. crude rose after bouncing off a technical support level near to a 16-month low reached last week.

Oil prices fell early on data showing China's factory output grew at the weakest pace in nearly six years in August, while growth in other key sectors also cooled, raising fears the world's second-largest economy may be at risk of a sharp slowdown.

"The Chinese data was sufficiently negative to create real worry again about the outlook for demand there and globally," said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC in New York.

News of Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak's meeting on Tuesday with OPEC officials in Vienna,  (go to article)

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GM Prepares to Launch 'Super Cruise' Technology with a 2017 Cadillac Model

GasBuddy Blog -- Image From ..cnbc.comGeneral Motors is preparing to introduce a Cadillac model in two years that can travel on the highway without the driver holding the steering wheel or putting a foot on a pedal.The 2017 Cadillac model will feature “Super Cruise” technology that takes control of steering, acceleration and braking at highway speeds of 70 miles per hour or in stop-and-go congested traffic, Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra said in a speech at the Intelligent Transport System World Congress in Detroit. Specifics on the exact model remain under wraps.Barra said GM will become the first automaker to equip a model with so-called vehicle-to-vehicle technology that enables the car to communicate with other autos with similar abilities to warn of traffic hazards and improve road safety....  (go to article)

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World's first car made by 3-D printer unveiled in Chicago

Yahoo News -- What's being billed as the world's first car made by a 3-D printer was unveiled in Chicago last week.The Strati, a two-seater "neighborhood" electric car with a range of 120 miles and a maximum speed of 40 mph, was assembled live in front of attendees at the International Manufacturing Technology Show.

According to Local Motors, the Phoenix, Arizona-based company behind the Strati, it took just 44 hours to build.

“We expect in the next couple of months to be below 24 hours and then eventually get it below 10 hours,” Local Motors CEO John Rogers told Scientific American. “This is in a matter of months. Today, the best Detroit or Germany can do is 10 hours on a [production] line, after hundreds of years of progress.”

Local Motors' mission "is to manufacture faster, but also more dem  (go to article)

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China creates its first no-cellphone sidewalk lane

Associated Press -- Taking a cue from an American TV program, the Chinese city of Chongqing has created a smartphone sidewalk lane, seemingly offering a path for those too engrossed in messaging and tweeting to watch where they're going.

But the property manager says it's intended to be ironic — to remind people that it's dangerous to tweet while walking the street.

"There are lots of elderly people and children in our street, and walking with your cellphone may cause unnecessary collisions here," said Nong Cheng, the marketing official with Meixin Group, which manages the area in the city's entertainment zone.
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In Vermont, a milestone in green-energy efforts

The Washington Post -- BURLINGTON, Vt. — Vermont’s largest city has a new success to add to its list of socially conscious achievements: 100 percent of its electricity now comes from renewable sources such as wind, water and biomass.

With little fanfare, the Burlington Electric Department crossed the threshold this month with the purchase of the 7.4-megawatt Winooski 1 hydroelectric project on the Winooski River at the city’s edge.

When it did, Burlington joined the Washington Electric Co-operative, which has about 11,000 customers across central and northern Vermont, which reached 100 percent earlier this year.  (go to article)

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U.S. Oil Futures Rebound on Weaker Dollar; Brent Steady

Bloomberg -- West Texas Intermediate rebounded after the dollar slid from a 14-month high, increasing the appeal of oil as an investment. Brent erased losses after falling to a two-year low.

Futures rose as much as 0.4 percent in New York after the Bloomberg dollar index, which tracks the greenback against 10 major counterparts, fell from the highest level since July 2013.

“The dollar deserves to come off a little bit with its recent strength,” said Tariq Zahir, a New York-based commodity fund manager at Tyche Capital Advisors. “On the lack of any bullish news, oil will continue to trade sideways.”

WTI for October delivery climbed 36 cents to $92.63 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 10:49 a.m. Volume was 27 percent higher than the 100-day average.  (go to article)

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Regulator Slow to Respond to Deadly Vehicle Defects

The New York Times -- General Motors published an article in February on its Chevrolet website trumpeting an achievement certain to help sell a lot of cars. Its 2014 Chevys had earned more five-star overall safety ratings in a new car assessment program than had any other brand. The next day, G.M. began recalling millions of its cars for a deadly ignition defect, and by August, six of the eight five-star Chevrolet models had been recalled for a variety of safety issues, including defects in air bags, brakes and steering. Five had been recalled multiple times. It was an embarrassing turn — but not just for the embattled automaker. The stellar rankings had been awarded by the federal regulatory agency that is mandated by Congress to ensure the safety of automobiles. The agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety  (go to article)

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AAPG ICE: ExxonMobil outlines international approach to unconventional development

Oil&Gas Journal -- Global energy demand is expected to increase 35% to 2040, translating to 120 billion boe/year, or nearly 350 million boe/d, stated Rocky Becker, vice-president, Europe-Caspian-Russia at ExxonMobil Exploration Co. As part of a panel speaking at the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) International Conference and Exhibition on Sept. 15, Becker outlined the contributing factors to US success in unconventional resource development and how these might be applied in international prospects to help meet increasing demand levels. “We know how difficult it is finding a 350-million-bbl discovery; imagine finding one of those a day,” he told conference attendees. Meanwhile, the global economy is expected to grow 2.8%/year through 2040, with China leading the trend with an expected gro  (go to article)

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Islamic State Bombs Iraq Oil Refinery as U.S. Hardens Stance

Bloomberg News -- Islamic State militants set fire to an oil storage tank at Iraq’s largest refinery as the U.S. prepares to escalate the campaign against the extremist group.
Militants fired mortar rounds at the Baiji refinery, 130 miles north of Baghdad, causing a crude storage tank to catch fire and emit a plume of smoke visible from miles away, the police said in a statement read over the phone by an officer.  (go to article)

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U.S. to export condensate for third month to Europe, South Korea

Reuters -- Exports of ultra light oil, or condensate, from the United States are set to continue for a third month, with two cargoes due to load in September for shipment to Europe and South Korea, two sources said on Monday.

The exports will take the total number of shipments of the lightly processed crude oil to five since the softening of a 40-year export ban.

Mitsubishi Corp has sold a cargo of condensate to load in the middle of this month to Koch Supply & Trading which will likely head to Rotterdam, the people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Another cargo to load later in September was sold by Mitsui & Co to South Korea's top refiner SK Energy, they said.

U.S. oil producers are keen to export a growing surplus of light oil from shale resources that has depressed domestic prices w  (go to article)

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N.D. oil output jumps even as flaring rule changes loom

Reuters -- North Dakota's daily oil production jumped 5 percent in July to an all-time high, though the number was lower than expected as producers worked to meet aggressive flaring-reduction targets, state regulators said on Friday.

The production numbers, which have been steadily rising for years, highlight the massive investments Hess Corp, Whiting Petroleum Corp and other companies are making to develop the state's oil-rich Bakken and Three Forks shale formations and others.

Despite the positive production data, shares of top North Dakota oil producers fell with the broader market.

The investments have brought thousands of new workers to North Dakota, as well as billions in infrastructure and real estate investment, making the state the fastest-growing economy in the United States.

North Dako  (go to article)

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At least 19 deaths tied to flawed GM cars

CNN -- Ken Feinberg, the attorney overseeing a compensation fund for victims of GM cars, has so far linked 19 deaths to a serious flaw with the automaker's ignition switches.

That's more than the 13 deaths General Motors (GM) has said were tied to the problem, which went unreported for a decade, years after company engineers discovered it.

Overall, Feinberg has received 125 claims for deaths and 320 for injuries in the five weeks he has been up and running. Of those, he has found 31 eligible for compensation. Most of the remainder are still under review.  (go to article)

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Oil outlook

Forbes -- We project that by 2035 the US will be energy self-sufficient while maintaining its position as the world’s top liquids and natural gas producer  (go to article)

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Oil sands players shrug off falling prices, eye narrowing differentials

Financial Post -- If there are worries about falling oil prices, Canadian companies aren’t showing it

Companies seemed more concerned about pipeline shortages and acquiring ‘social licences’ than the weakening price of a barrel of crude

“Commodity price remains the largest risk overall, but we are generally mostly bullish on the price of oil given the growth and demand outside of N Am

While the industry is mindful of a disruption caused by a price collapse, companies are comforted by lower differentials between Canadian and U.S. crude “even as we enter the traditional low demand of heavy oil of the months of Dec, Jan and Feb

“Lower differentials and a weak Canadian dollar are offsetting price declines in WTI

However, global developments may be conspiring against Canadian crude

Teh IEA warned that oil  (go to article)

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Brent Crude Falls to Two-Year Low as China Output Slows

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Brent crude declined to its lowest intraday level in more than two years as China’s industrial output expanded at the weakest pace since the global financial crisis. West Texas Intermediate also fell.

Futures slid as much as 0.9 percent in London. Factory production in China, the world’s second-biggest oil consumer, rose 6.9 percent from a year earlier in August, the National Bureau of Statistics said Sept. 13, compared with 9 percent in July and a median estimate of 8.8 percent in a Bloomberg News survey. Crude output in Libya increased to 870,000 barrels a day, according to state-run National Oil Corp
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Fracking in Scotland Is One Solution to Higher Gas Costs

Bloomberg News -- With natural gas prices in Europe more than double costs in the U.S., Ineos has a novel solution: start fracking

The world’s 4th-biggest petrochemical manufacturer bought a license to look for fuel around its refinery in Grangemouth, Scotland. That complements a deal by Ineos to import gas from the U.S., a step followed by other chemical companies in Europe

Shale exploration has helped boost supply and depress prices in the U.S. In Europe, the U.K. and Poland have embraced fracking

Scotland may hold 80T cuft of shale gas. The Scottish government proposes “a cautious and considered approach” to unconventional resources, as opposed to the U.K. government’s plans to allow drilling below people’s homes and land

The EU faces the risk of industry drain due to lower energy prices in the U.S.  (go to article)

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Cars and trucks we can't have...but definitely want

Fox News -- Would u like any of these vehicle's?  (go to article)

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California man arrested after firing on ice cream truck, police

Reuters -- A southern California man was arrested following a nine-hour standoff with police after he opened fire on an ice cream truck and later shot at officers, police said on Monday.

Terry McKinney, 59, was arrested late on Sunday following the hours-long standoff, said San Bernardino Police Lieutenant Rich Lawhead. No one was injured, he said.
 (go to article)

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